In the thirty-six hours since Kyosu and Jacques had formed their alliance from Kyosu realizing he had been abandoned by his angel and the King gaining his, the two had just barely reached the city in which Kyosu's apartment was as the sun was climbing the sky. Granted, Jacques hadn't put all his faith in the boy. He had taken with them two other members of the gang, the same two who had initially kidnapped Kyosu.
“So, boy, where's your place?”
“If you turn there, it's on that street,” Kyosu said, pointing at a one way street coming up soon. “It's got a parking ramp, you can't miss it. Only one on the street.”
Jacques nodded, following Kyosu's directions with ease as he pulled the car into a parking ramp, a sign saying that there was free parking during the daylight hours at the front. “Heh. Good thing we weren't expecting to pay anyways.”
The car stopped, Kyosu getting out. His body was rigid and tense, something felt wrong as he walked towards his apartment complex, entering it with Jacques behind him. His two fellow gang members stayed in the car, the gang leader seemingly having his confidence in Kyosu now bolstered. That, or he wanted to deal with him alone if he tried anything.
Kyosu entered the complex, and Jacques followed him closely as he started up the stairs. Arriving at his floor, he entered his apartment and looked around curiously. “Where did she go...?”
“So, the bitch isn't here?” Jacques asked as Kyosu walked into the main of the apartment, looking through the room a bit.
“Where is she?” Kyosu asked, and saw something strange in the window. It was as if he were looking at a reflection of her, and he turned to see if she was behind him.
She wasn't, of course. “Fuck!” he yelled, slamming his fist into the wall. “I don't know where else she'd be.”
“Well, you better figure it out. I don't exactly need you if you can't deliver.”
Kyosu turned to look at the man, and nodded. “She could be here, I mean, she was pretty beat up.”
“Deliver the bitch or I'll have your head on my silver platter, bitch.”
Kyosu just hurried into the bathroom of the apartment, looking in there. He didn't know what had happened here, he hadn't heard much about the radiation. They had the CD Player on the whole car ride, and now he was blissfully unaware of the fact his angel had caused a city-wide communications block, and in response of it there was a military convoy en route to provide working communications.
He let out a yell when he looked in the mirror, and saw her.
“Celestia!” a voice yelled from down the hall of the apartment as Bellona quickly got up from the couch in Adele's apartment, looking around.
“Did you hear that? I think it was Kyosu!” The owner of the apartment nodded as the two quickly hurried out from her apartment, into the hallway.
“He must have just got her, looking for her. I don't know what he was doing or what happened to him, but I swear that bastard better have one hell of an excuse!”
Adele snickered a bit at Bellona's comment, as the two hurried down to Kyosu's apartment.
Adele knocked on the door, as it was locked, and there was some swearing inside. Bellona gave a glance to Adele, who simply shrugged. Whoever was with Kyosu, they didn't recognize the voice.
The door opened, and Kyosu glowered. “Where is she?”
“Where the hell have you been?” Bellona said without any thought to his question, grabbing the boy by his shirt and throwing him against the wall. “Gabriel said he felt something weird, we came here and met your neighbor, turns out Celestia was brutally assaulted by some psycho bastard and then I have no fuckin' idea what happened.”
“And now, the two of us are without our angels again. What about you?”
“Those two have angels too? Dayum, this must be heaven or somethin' – they certainly look like they'd feel like heaven at any rate.”
The man who had said that, of course, was a stranger to the two girls who saw the black man appear in Kyosu's apartment from behind a counter. “Kyosu, how you know these bitches?”
“The one who's holding me against the wall-” Bellona didn't let go at all, instead tightening her grasp. “-is the one who helped me with my angel at first. The other's my neighbor, I didn't know she had an angel.”
“Well, shit, son. And they're both out of angels?”
“Yeah. Who the fuck are you?” Bellona asked, dropping Kyosu now and approaching him.
“I'm Jacques fuckin' Bryant III, the motherfucking King. Kyosu and me were looking for his angel so he could put her in her bitch place for just abandoning him.”
Bellona glowered at the gangster, and if looks could kill he'd have been the most mutilated corpse in the history of mankind right now. “She was almost dead. She might be dead for all we know – and she took our angels with her.”
“Heh, looks like I did a bit overkill then.”
“You what?” Bellona snarled, as she trembled, her fists shaking. Even without her powers, her rage powered her enough to make her a force to be reckoned with. That is to say, against anyone who didn't have their own angel.
“I beat the shit out of that bitch, wanted her as my own. Turns out I killed her. Big deal.”
“And you were okay with this?” Adele asked the boy, who was stunned. He didn't know how to react. His angel had died – he didn't even know that was possible.
Bellona started to swing at the man, but Jacques laughed and snapped his finger. Flames shot from his hand, hitting her and she let out a gasp, before it became a full-fledged scream of pain. Flames danced around the girl, as Adele backed up, fear overwhelming her. She knew that fire could kill people without much effort.
“You bastard, I'll kill you!” Bellona screamed, as Kyosu started to ball his hands into fists, his lips trembling. He didn't know who he was mad at but he stood up slowly.
Jacques just laughed and the flames vanished, the burns still there though. “Me? I have an angel now. Abaddon.”
The angel formed from the shadows, rising out of them as if they were just oil dripping off his body, and Bellona lay on the floor panting, looking up to see him.
“That would be correct.”
Bellona felt a memory resurfacing as she heard Gabriel telling her about something, something involving the angels and... darker figures, some group of them...
She couldn't place the memory or recall much than the description, but the angel in front of her was a living description of him.
“And now, well... now I have to end you.”
He snapped his fingers as flames once again enveloped Bellona's body, the girl screaming, the last shreds of her clothes burning off.
“Stop!” Kyosu roared as he stood up now, and Jacques looked up at the man.
“What, you want to finish her yourself?”
Kyosu felt something bizarre as he rose a fist and started at Jacques, the feeling of flames numbing his body as he felt his clothes light. Time seemed to slow down, his mind focusing on things he didn't even know he could focus on before now.
The flames vanished and he had the strangest visual in his head, a portal opening in front of his fist as he realized that Jacques had moved out of his way, and I his head he could see his fist going through this portal and coming out somewhere dark...
He felt his fist make contact with something other than the kitchen cabinet it should have, and he blinked, stunned for a moment as he realized what had happened. Somehow, he had opened a portal.
Jacques felt the fist hit him from in the inside of his shirt, much to his surprise. And Kyosu pulled his fist out of the portal quickly, turning around to swing another punch at the gangster.
“What the fuck?” Jacques asked, confused at where the portal had came from, but Kyosu wasn't questioning it as he knocked the gangster back again, his punches and kicks acting purely on instincts now.
“Did he get... his powers back somehow...?” Bellona asked through her grimace of pain as she watched the fight, the flames that Jacques had started gone the moment the fist had hit him from inside his shirt.
“I don't know,” Adele whispered, just loud enough for Bellona to hear despite the distance from the door and Adele and Bellona and the middle of the floor of Kyosu's apartment.
Jacques brought flames up around his fist and swung a punch at Kyosu, the boy opening a portal under him and bringing him out behind Jacques as his legs flew out of the wall, hitting Jacques in the back.
The moment Kyosu landed, the portals closed, Jacques falling face forwards, and Kyosu opened a portal there almost immediately. In the chaos, Abaddon had vanished into the shadows, which hardly surprised Kyosu.
Jacques hit the portal and his body flew through, the portal closing quickly behind him. Where it led to, Kyosu wasn't sure. He had a visual in his head for a brief flash, but it was gone merely moments later.
“Help,” Bellona said as the burns she had finally overwhelmed her ability to hold out the pain, and she screamed a bit, Adele rushing over and putting a towel over her mouth to lessen the noise.
“The burns aren't as bad as they could have been,” Adele said, Kyosu turning, his body still trembling. He really didn't know what had happened, it had been far too fast for him to properly react.
“Bellona, are you okay?” he asked quickly, rushing to her side, crouching next to her.
“What do you think?” Adele snapped, looking up at him. “We need a doctor, now.”
Kyosu nodded, quickly racing towards the nearest phone and grabbing it, dialing 9-1-1 as he shifted nervously.
The phone lines were down, he cursed, and there was a pause.
“Didn't you just use your powers?” Adele asked, and Kyosu paused.
“Y-yes... I did...”
He looked at his hands for some reason, as if somehow the portals had come from there, and laughed. “I did! That means... that means she's alive, somehow! Ahaaha, she's alive!” Kyosu laughed, and there was a humming noise, the sound of people walking, before he saw a brilliant flash from behind him, Adele closing her eyes from the light before it had even begun and opening them as he turned around.
The voice came from Gabriel, who stood on the right side of a glorious, heavenly light. On the left side, was Samael, the two angels acting almost like guards for someone.
“Kyosu,” said a voice from between them, from the light a shape slowly walking, the body of Celestia becoming easier to make out as if she were walking down a long tunnel, in front of a light. Except, well... something about her felt different.
“I survived my going nuclear, thanks to your emotions providing me with energy and will, and also thanks to these two for taking me far from here, so that I could release radiation safely.”
Kyosu nodded, as he slowly got on his knees. Something about her felt too right, too perfect. As if she herself were divinity. And while Kyosu had never been a religious man, as he felt the presence of what felt like a goddess, he was compelled to lower himself, Adele and Bellona watching from the floor already.
“I thank you. I cannot make myself appear in my full form anymore, but I can provide you with my powers. And I can make myself appear in reflections for you whenever you need me.”
“I'm so confused.... I thought you had abandoned me... then I found out you were dead...”
“I almost did die. I didn't want to leave you without powers, Kyosu. But I had to, or I'd have killed thousands.”
“What happened?” he asked, and Celestia sighed.
“Gabriel and Samael combined their powers to take me out of time, so that I could release energy without killing the city with radiation. In the process, well... I changed physically, my body evolved to a higher state. I'm an Archangel now, Kyosu.”
“The most powerful angels are called Archangel. Until now, well... none of the three of us knew where they came from or how. But now that we know, we're dreadfully concerned. We'll be here now though, but we won't be able to appear physically like this.”
Kyosu nodded. “I'm just glad you're okay.”
“Bellona really needs help,” Adele said, Gabriel hearing that and seeing his host burned, and quickly he responded by abandoning Celestia and hurrying towards her.
“Let me,” Celestia said, and the glowing light moved, the outline of Celestia seeming to have wings now as she approached the injured woman. From the light came strands of energy, golden in color as they slowly snaked through the air and around Bellona's body, her skin miraculously healing. “I still have extra energy that's just sitting around in me, after all,” Celestia said as the healing took place, until after a few moments the glowing vanished and Bellona was fine.
“Whoa...” She was awed by the sensation of healing and regrowth that had just coursed through her, and smiled. “Thank you.”
“It was nothing. I can feel so much energy coursing through me, it was the least I could do.”
“So what happens now?” Kyosu asked, getting to the point. “I mean... well, something's going on isn't it?”
“I'm not sure,” Celestia said and looked towards Gabriel, or at least that is what it looked like her outline did. “Gabriel, do you know anything for sure?”
“Not yet, sadly. I'll be able to look into things more now that we're not trying to keep everyone alive,” Gabriel said with a bit of a chuckle, Samael just nodding silently.
“Right then,” Kyosu said as Adele helped Bellona up. “I don't think I've met you other than a few times, Adele is it?”
“Ada,” Samael said teasingly, Adele giving him a glare and the angel just laughed.
“Yes. I live down the hall,” Adele said with a smile, and paused. “My angel's Samael, I didn't know you had an angel.”
“Well, see, I just got one. When did you get yours?”
“Not too long after I moved here, actually.”
“I hate to break up the get-together,” Bellona said as she stretched her arm. “But don't we have more important things to do?”
“She's right,” Samael said as he glanced at Adele, who just stopped talking and gave a frustrated expression. “Gabriel, Celestia, and I will go to try figuring out what's going on. Until then you three should make sure you can use your powers correctly still.”
“Makes sense to me, I guess,” Kyosu said with a shrug. “So we practice together like we're a sports team or something?”
Adele laughed a bit, and Kyosu looked at Celestia through the glow. “Thank you,” she said after a pause, and Kyosu smiled softly as the glow began to vanish, her outline in it vanishing too as the other angels began to fade also.
There was a crash outside, and the three humans looked out to the window to see if they could see what had happened. Being unable to do so they found the angels gone, and Kyosu started towards the window to look down it.
“Looks like a car crash. This'll be perfect for us to start practicing.”
The two women just nodded, and he began focusing to open a portal.
Raelyn and Nihilium were asleep as the night rolled in, the day having been uneventful. To their relief there had been no other attempts on their lives, but as they slept a figure slowly passed by the bedroom window.
Nihilium snapped awake to the sound of knocking on the door, his body rigid and tense as he realized it was late at night, and that someone was at the door. “Raelyn,” he whispered softly, trying to wake the woman without being too noisy. “Raelyn.”
She stirred softly before opening her eyes, and smiled. “Yes?”
The knocking repeated – four solid knocks on the door, and she frowned. “Someone's at the door,” she muttered in her still drowsy state, unable to really think things through that much, starting to get out of bed. Her pajamas were the same color as Nihilium's eyes as she started to the bedroom door, Nihilium getting out of bed too, just in some boxers. While staying here, he had already ended up buying more clothes.
“Who do you think it is?” Nihilium asked groggily, and Raelyn gave a shrug.
She opened the door to find Detective Holmes, the man holding a cup of Starbucks coffee in one hand as he put the other in his pocket. He was in a trench coat, and a little bit of cold nipped at Raelyn's skin as she stood at the door. “Detective.” She rubbed her eyes, making sure it was him. “Good... morning is it now?”
“Yes, good morning I suppose,” Holmes said as he looked around for a few seconds. “May I come in?”
“Certainly,” Raelyn said, standing out of the way for the detective to come in, closing the door behind him. “What brings you hear at this time of night? And why did you knock, I doubt you thought you'd wake us up.”
“I didn't necessarily want to. But I needed to show you both something.”
Nihilium sat down on a couch, as Raelyn came over to the man and sat next to him slowly, leaving a reclining chair for Detective Holmes. “We found something interesting on the perpetrator's person. A photograph, in fact. Of Nihilium.”
Nihilium raised an eyebrow in curiosity as he leaned forward. “Did you now?”
“I did. Or at least, someone similar to you.”
“Why would there be a photograph of Nihilium?” Raelyn asked as she gave Nihilium's hand a squeeze, a bit of nervousness clearly in her voice. While the man didn't exactly care too much, Raelyn had concern written all over her face.
The detective pulled a plastic bag with a photograph in it, and handed it to Nihilium over the table between them.
Nihilium looked at the photograph and slowly nodded, recognizing himself in it. “I don't know the other two men in it, or the girl.”
“No, you wouldn't. Amnesia and all. But we're running searches on who they are, we think it's related to the break in.”
Nihilium nodded, it made sense. There was a dog next to him in the picture, a golden retriever. And he had both eyes in it still. To his right was a girl in a scarlet dress with black hair that curled as it went down and around her shoulders. To his left stood two men, one a man in a white suit – no, a lab coat – and the other...
The other was that man from the rooftop in his first vision of the future. He saw the man's face now. A soul patch beard and some sideburns, the man having almost locks of his dark, chocolatey hair. His skin was tanned to an almost orange, and his eyes were a deep green that seemed to reflect raw knowledge.
“I suppose it would be,” Nihilium said with a shrug, and passed it back to the detective.
“Did you find anything else out?” Raelyn asked the detective, and Nihilium waited for the man to respond.
“No. If I do, I'll come back to you two.” Holmes stood up slowly and put the photograph back in his pocket, starting back to the door. “I want to figure this all out as much as you two do, I assure you. It's kept me busy and got my interest, not many cases do that.”
He gave them a smile and a brief salute. “Good night then. Or morning, I suppose. Heh.”
Raelyn watched as he left, and looked towards Nihilium. “You recognize any of them at all?”
“I saw that man before. He was in my first vision of the future I can remember. The one furthest from me.”
Raelyn nodded, and then leaned in to kiss Nihilium. The man kissed her back softly, and she smiled as they pulled away. “What do you say we head back to bed and make ourselves a good night?”
Nihilium gave her a grin as he read her facial expressions, and without any words he wrapped his arms around her and lifted, standing up to carry her to bed, Raelyn's face flushed to a deep red the whole way.
“Ariel,” Micheal started as he appeared in the girl's room without a warning, the teenage girl letting out a short yelp as she grabbed a towel and wrapped it around herself quickly.
“What the hell?!” she yelled, her face a deep, rosy color from the surprise visit from the angel when she had been in a most inappropriate state for a man to pop into her room. “I was getting dressed and you just pop in!”
Despite the situation she managed to keep her voice down to not attract her parent's attention, and Micheal turned around. “My apologies, I didn't mean to...”
“I'll tell you when I'm decent okay?”
Micheal nodded, and Ariel rolled her eyes as she pulled off her towel again, opening a drawer. “So what was it you needed to just barge in on me for?”
“I've found out something involving the radiation.”
Ariel nodded as she dressed, before realizing that Micheal couldn't see her nod. “What about it?”
“It was an angel becoming an Archangel. And this is starting to worry me. I've never heard of an Archangel being born, I never knew how they were. But that one was right after that Archangel Satellite went up, it seems like an awfully weird coincidence... an omen perhaps.”
“Do you think the Archangel Satellite caused it?” Ariel opened her closet and pulled out a robe, sliding it over herself and smiled. “And I'm decent now.”
Micheal turned around and sighed. “You humans frustrate me to no end.”
Ariel just rolled her eyes again and sat down on her bed, and Micheal did the same. “But, no. The satellite didn't cause it. But it seems fishy... it's possible, but... it doesn't seem likely.”
“I- no, nevermind. It's too far-fetched. I'm going to try finding the angel that became an Archangel, ask them about it.”
“Do you think they'll know anything about the satellite?”
“It's possible, but... I'm not sure. Whatever it is, it seems that the next launch is in a few weeks now.”
“I see. Well, hopefully we'll be able to figure it out.”
“Agreed. And hopefully, it isn't someone pulling strings...”
Micheal stood up and started towards the door. “You have school tomorrow, I believe. I'll let you be. Good night.”
“Good night yourself,” Ariel said, Micheal walking through the door and vanishing, Ariel laying down in bed and turning off her lamp. She turned her head to look out the window, wondering if she'd see another fallen angel. It definitely would be nice to meet others with powers like her, even if she barely used hers.
The man in the white suit smiled as the monitor on his tablet showed the camera feed from the teenage girl's bedroom window. “What's her name, again?” he asked, as he turned in his armchair, the entire chair spinning like an office chair. The man he asked was a timid looking pencil-pusher who had deep green eyes and brown hair.
“Alison DiMaggio, sir. She's close with the host by the name of Ariel Smith.”
“Ah, excellent. It's good we have her targeted too. She may prove valuable.”
“Correct, sir. Going off her records, it seems that she might not be too hard to buy out either. She's loyal to her friend, but she doesn't realize the weight of the situation most likely.”
“Do you think we can break that somehow? Everyone has their price, after all. Offer enough of something, and you can get anyone to do anything.”
The pencil-pusher paused and brought up an image that seemed to hover in the middle of the room, the light beams of it suspended in the glass panel that worked as a screen for him. Only now, both sides of it showed the same image.
“She seems to really be into her dance stuff. If we can offer her something there she may be able to swing our way. Or, we could try to bribe her with admission and full-ride to any college. She is very interested in being a psychologist but she's not exactly able to get money for a college. She lost her father a few years ago but he didn't have social security so her family's poor now.”
The man in the white suit nodded, and gave a smile. “Alright then. We'll have to figure out what we want from the host Ariel and her angel first, of course. I'm more interested in the new hosts I've located though, in Nebraska and Colorado. They seem to be... easily manipulated.”
“You mean the Harrison brothers and Jessica Harper?” the pencil-pusher asked, and the man in the white suit nodded. “They'd be easily motivated with money to help us. But they all have criminal records.”
“We can offer clearing that too. I have enough men in my pocket, you know that well enough.”
“Very well, sir. Shall we send the offer?”
The man in the white suit turned to see his personal monitor, and pressed a button on it. A map opened, showing around a thousand dots, each of them a host and angel, just of the United States. He had no idea how many others were in the world, but he wasn't interested. Just those thousand hosts alone were enough to give him all he needed for his plans.
And Alexander Elijiah Stoneheart was a man who got what he wanted. Always.
When he was in his twenties, he found out about the angels. From then on, he had been working at acquiring wealth, buying and trading stocks, gaining power and connections, pulling strings. He had managed to get the right circumstances – particularly a lengthy war and oil prices increasing – for him to get the funds needed for his latest and greatest plot even, and had the majority of politicians wrapped around his finger.
And the best of it was, unlike Bill Gates or the late Steve Jobs, he was the quiet billionaire. His vast fortunes were hidden by expert accountants, and according to a majority of tax-collecting resources he was, in fact, deceased. His mob connections relied on him for weapons, drugs, and money and would never try to turn against him. They knew the moment they did, they'd be taken down by other mobs and government raids.
It hadn't always been like this, of course. There had been a time when he was taking risks and getting lucky. But those days were long ago now. Now, he got what he wanted, when he wanted.